As Kitty Coleman and Maggie Weir were going to school one morning, Kitty said:— 

"I was over at Uncle Fred's last Saturday, and came near staying too late. We had such fun that I did not notice how near the sun was to setting, and I was very much afraid that I might meet a tramp." 

"Did you meet one?" inquired Maggie. 

"No one but Johnnie Gates; he was coming down the hill whistling, with a great big watermelon under his arm; I was scared at first, but when I saw who it was, I got over it." 

At recess Maggie said to Mary Ford:— 

"Kitty told me that she saw Johnnie Gates carrying a great big watermelon home Saturday evening. Wonder where he got it, and what he is going to do with it?" 

Before school Mary whispered to Sallie Bates: 

"Johnnie Gates was seen carrying a great big watermelon Saturday evening. I wonder if he got it honestly!" 

"Mr. Hart's melon patch was robbed about that time; maybe that's where it came from," answered Sallie. 

At noon, Sarah told Susan and Jennie. 

"I know something, and I'll tell you if you won't breathe it to a soul." 

"Oh, no, we won't," cried both girls in one breath; "what is it?" 

"Why, Johnnie Gates robbed Mr. Hart's melon patch last week." 

"Oh dear, isn't that awful!" exclaimed Susie. 

"I always thought that Johnnie was not so much better than the rest of us, for all he made believe he was so honest," said Jennie. 

"He couldn't have done it alone," Sallie said. Whereupon Jennie hastened to a group of schoolgirls who were in the house, and said to them, "Johnnie Gates and a lot of other boys robbed Mr. Hart's melon patch, and destroyed all they could not carry away." 

Just at that moment Johnnie himself came in whistling, and looking like anything but a thief. 

"O girls! Get together quick; I've got something for you, and it's 'most school time." 

The girls looked at each other, and with little movements of disgust turned away. 

"Why, what's the matter with you all? Hurry up, or the bell will ring," cried Johnnie. 

"We know what you've got, Johnnie Gates,' 

spoke up Sallie; "and we don't want any of your stolen melon, and I think you should be ashamed of yourself." 

"Who says I stole a melon?" cried Johnnie in an excited tone: "I guess he'd better not tell me so. 

I was over at Uncle Henry's Saturday night, and he gave me a splendid one, and I saved it on purpose to give you all some; but if that is the way you are talking about me, you may do without." 

"Well," said one of the girls, " that is what I heard, anyway." 

"Who told you, I'd like to know?" 

Then they all began to talk at once, and became so excited that they did not notice that their teacher was in the room, until she spoke to Johnnie, asking him to explain the cause of the confusion. Then she carefully examined into the matter, until she found that it all came from Kitty Coleman's saying that she had met Johnnie with a melon. 

The children that had taken part in the story felt somewhat ashamed of themselves, when they saw how much the story had grown in their hands. 

The teacher said, "I hope every one of you will learn a lesson from this incident, and just now, before the habit becomes fixed, resolve that you will tell nothing but what you know to be true, and that what you do tell, you will tell exactly as yon heard it; and not tell anything to injure another, even if it is true. I hope Johnnie will forgive you, and that you will never forget the lesson you have learned today." 

I am glad to say that Johnnie did forgive them, and gave them a piece of the melon all around; and I hope that neither they nor any of my young readers will grow up to be tattling, gossiping men 

and women. 

—Morning Star